Soccer: Do I need to give extra work to players who didn’t play the match? If so, when?

Join Catapult’s Alex Lowthorpe as he talks through why top up sessions are required for soccer player and when they can be delivered.


So, we have a question here from one of our users.

Do I need to give extra work to the players

who didn’t play the match and if so, when?

Before we dive into the answers, let’s

look at some of the research.

Anderson et al.

Looked at squad status and the implications

for physical load throughout the season.

He defined starters as those who started greater than

60% of games, fringe players as those who started

30% to 60% of games, and non-starters as those

who started less than 30% of the games.

Looking at the differences between starters and

non-starters across training and matches, he found

the effect size was very large across

running high speed running and sprinting intensities.

When looking at running intensity, starters covered

approximately 92 km per season compared to 58 km for non-starters.

For high speed running, starters covered approximately

35 km per season compared to 19 km for non-starters and

for sprinting, starters covered approximately 11 km per season

compared to 3 km for non-starters.

When comparing starters versus fringe players, the same

very large effect size was apparent in sprinting.

Starting players completed approximately 11 km compared

to fringe players who completed approximately 5 km of

sprinting distance per season, indicating that unlike

total seasonal volume of training, I. E.

Total distance and duration, seasonal high

intensity loading patterns are dependent upon

players match starting status.

Therefore, there is a requirement to address this through

training exposure. To answer the first part of the

question, do I need to give extra work to

the players who didn’t play the match?

The answer is yes, but when?

Well, if we look at a typical week,

we have three opportunities before the next team

conditioning session, the first one being match day.

After the game.

It is not uncommon to see substitutes and

players who did not enter onto the pitch

receive high speed and sprinting top ups.

This is often preferred by players and staff as their

schedules match with days off at the same time.

The next option is to split it over

match day and match day plus one (MD+1).

However, this means players have no days off.

Alternatively, another option is for these players to complete

their extra work on match day plus one (MD+1).

However, this doesn’t give the players the best

chance to recover and perform at their best

during training on a match day plus two (MD+2).

Thank you for listening.

I hope you found that useful.